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Intro to AI and Machine Learning Products by Salesforce PM

Machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning… what are all these? It’s true that building products at different companies vary depending on the product, but what overlaps in building AI and machine learning products?

Product Manager at Salesforce talked about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning products and how product managers can efficiently build, launch and manage them.



Director of Product at Salesforce

Kanishka Maheshwari is the Director of Product Management on the Search team at Salesforce. There he focused specifically on applying AI and Machine Learning to Search, and building out core search engine features and the Salesforce search platform. He also co-founded an education non-profit which builds schools in rural Nepal. He is a CMU alum and loves golf & skiing.


AI and Machine Learning Products

This talk was aimed to offer insights on how to be an effective and empathetic Product Manager and how to be customer driven. Kanishka also talked about how to bring Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning powered products to the market.

The takeaways that Kaneshka went deeper into were what Product Manager’s life is like, how to be a capable Product Manager and what can you do if you want to be a Product Manager. He also gave insight into how you can effectively deliver AI and Machine Learning Products to customers, and how to be efficient working with AI and Machine Learning engineers and data scientists.

 Intro to AI and Machine Learning Products by Salesforce PM


Bullet Points:

  • Key things for aspiring managers to learn:
    • Love your customer: know what makes them successful, and their pain points are. Become their advocate for your company.
    • Become the product and market expert: do competitive studies, understand the ins and outs of your product so that you know the market and direction you need to move to.
    • Make sure you can build trust with your stakeholders (customers, engineers, the UX team, support, designers, etc.)
  • Key things for those that are already product managers:
    • Empower your team, stakeholders, etc.
    • Delegate your team as much as you can.
    • Communicate and be proactive about it.
  • When delivering machine learning and artificial intelligence products:
  • “Everyone should try to be a Product Manager at least once.” It helps you figure out how to work with other people, and you have to come up with mental (and other) tricks to make things work.
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence in real life.
    • Very few are doing it, even fewer do it at scale, and even fewer than that do it right.
  • 3 Key things you get from machine learning and artificial intelligence:
    • Historical reference and learning on your data set.
    • Prediction capabilities.
    • Personalization.
  • What do you need to be effective as a product manager?
    • Well-defined hypothesis and success criteria.
    • Good data pipeline and clean data.
    • Offline model building capability.
    • A way to experiment these.
    • A way to deploy your models.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach Product Management in 14 cities worldwide, including Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles and London. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Following Your Passion vs. What’s Popular by ReWalk Robotics

We are all familiar with Product Management in top tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. But does the job change when you work at a robotics company?

The Global Marketing Lead at ReWalk Robotics took part in a live chat to talk about what he does daily and what motivates him in his job.


Following Your Passion vs. What's Popular by ReWalk RoboticsAndy Dolan
Andy leads the global marketing team at ReWalk Robotics, a company engaged in designing, developing and commercializing exoskeletons. Andy has been at ReWalk Robotics since January 2014. He previously served in product management and sales leadership roles for Boston Scientific, Integra Life Sciences and Johnson and Johnson. Andy holds a B.Sc. from Springfield College, an MBA a graduate certificate in bioengineering.



What was the career path you took to arrive in your current position, and would you change/improve anything if you had the chance?

I started in medical device sales, which worked for me, others might find different routes. I quickly learned the importance of meeting a customer’s needs, focusing on providing value, etc. However, it wasn’t the right challenge for me, and after observing different functions, I realized Product Management might be.

It took a while, and I had to add to my education with an MBA and an engineering program, but I made the transition. Perhaps I wish it happened earlier, but I learned a lot in the field, so I think overall I’m happy with how it turned out.


Other than the usual, what skills do you look for when hiring? Are you looking for people with Robotics backgrounds?

Interesting question. I think it’s important for Product Managers to have the capacity to become proficient with their product line, but not necessarily experts. That’s what the engineers are for. A Product Manager needs to focus on all aspects of success on their product line, and not get too tied up in technical aspects.

I happen to have a bioengineering background, and it helps, but I often have to turn off that side of the thinking to focus on what’s good for the business vs. what would be “neat” to build.


What about working in Product makes you happy?

I get to see people stand and walk for the first time in years, something they thought they would never be able to do again. Enough said.


Which products or product lines energize and enthuse you the most when it comes to REWALK +exoskeleton tech and robotics in general?

My company focuses on medical applications; others provide industrial, lifestyle or military solutions. My whole career has been spent in medical devices; I find the human aspects of that rewarding. Our next products will focus on assistance for those who can walk but are impaired. We’ll help people better access their surroundings, and in the process maintain their health. It’s economic and social win-win. 


Do you have any advice on how to prepare a resume and what to highlight?

All resumes should point to one thing – what value you can provide the company. Job interviews are a sales call, and in selling 101, you learn that a feature of a product is meaningless unless it has a benefit for the customer. How can you background benefit the employer? What accomplishments have you had that show you can achieve, and would also do that for them? Think of it as making your argument vs. listing a biography.

Following Your Passion vs. What's Popular by ReWalk Robotics

What makes a good Product Manager? What are some recommended sources of best practices and tools etc.?

Product Managers have to be OK with not being an expert on every topic they are involved in. Some people find that hard. I have worked with many engineers who want to focus on technical knowledge or salespeople who switch to Product Management and focus on downstream.

You can’t rely on your comfort zone; you have to be very cross-functional and diverse. It can be humbling; however, once you get to a point where you can function as a product line owner, you own the place.


What would you recommend to attain more experience in Product while earning money to sustain a living?

This is a tough one to answer, in my experience it wasn’t immediate. I joined a company in a sales capacity and made it known I did so because I wanted to switch to marketing (much to the annoyance of my boss at the time). I networked well with the Product team, volunteered for related tasks, and when the time came for an opening, I prepared to the point where they had no choice but to hire me.


How much does a Product Manager focus on Competition, Pricing model and Customer satisfaction in defining the requirements/overall production vision?

The product requirements should be a response to what the market wants. I think of the market as a sentient being – charge them too much, come up short competitively, provide features they don’t need, etc. and they ignore you. Regular touch points with meaningful VOC – ethnographic data, focus groups, etc. help with this.

I think my sales background helps here. I recall one meeting where a bunch of engineers was wondering what the key physicians in our market would like, and I interrupted the meeting to pick up the phone and call a bunch. Sometimes it’s that easy.


What professional blogs/sites/groups do you usually get information from on a daily basis?

Have to admit, none. I have some Google Alerts set up for my competitors and markets, and I follow some key opinion leaders in my market on social media, but that’s about it. One nice thing about the medical space is that your top customer base is pretty small so that you can stay in touch with the key ones directly.


In hindsight, do you think that the MBA was necessary for your transition to Product?

Eh, on paper probably yes since I was trying to transition with a marketing background. Has it helped me? Maybe a little, but it’s nowhere as important as overall experience.

Following Your Passion vs. What's Popular by ReWalk Robotics

Is a technical background necessary and what would you recommend for those coming from finance or business background?

Nope. Product Management requires a personality type, somewhat similar to a project manager but with more ability to present. A Product Manager role often has upstream and downstream components, depending on your company structure. As a Product Manager, I have always had to sit on product development teams, construct financial/ market models and then roll out launch- which means developing sales collateral and presenting (and exciting) large groups from the stage.

Remember that a Product Manager interacts with almost every function, so anyone who is trying to get in will be stronger in one area than others. Your job as a candidate for the role is to show them where you’re strong, then move past it to show how you can work with all areas. If you are an engineer, show them that then say “but I’ve also interacted with customers, and here is how…”


What is the breakdown of time you spend on average communicating with different stakeholders vs. writing up requirements, product specs, doing research, etc.? 

Tough one, literally on the same day I do all of those. The hardest part of the job is balancing, as you can not neglect any area. I go from writing a clinical study protocol to preparing for a media presentation to troubleshooting a product issue before lunch. I don’t have a good answer here because every single day is different.


Were you passionate about the industry you’re currently in? Should I chase what is currently popular or trendy or should I follow what I’m passionate about?

I did both. I was in medical devices (surgical implants) when a recruiter called with this opportunity. Powered exoskeletons are medical devices, so there was a fit with what I have always done, but the draw of working with robots excited my inner child enough to get me to leap from a top med device company to a startup.


What’s your opinion on must have certifications/courses if you’re transitioning from another industry? Where is that time well spent?

I don’t have one, but I’ve seen others with project management certificates, and it appears to be quite helpful.

Following Your Passion vs. What's Popular by ReWalk Robotics

Do you get nervous when presenting in front of groups? Does it go away with practice and experience? Any tips on how to overcome this?

It helps to know what you are talking about. If you are supposed to be the expert, make sure you are. Regarding large groups, to be honest, I find those easier. I’ve presented to forums with thousands of people; it’s so anonymous that I find it easy. Now when you are in a board meeting with eight people staring at you and firing questions, that’s harder.


I have made several proposals to Product that have been chosen and taken forward to customers. Can I apply for Product positions with that or is it better to get a certificate?

If you are an engineer that understands all innovation needs to provide value for the company, then you are a step ahead of most. Keep focusing on one thing- providing value for the company vs. the most interesting technical advancement.

Also, remember that the customer sometimes isn’t the most important consideration. Gasp! Really, your responsibility is to the company, which usually means keeping the customer happy, but not in all cases.


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach Product Management in 14 cities worldwide, including Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles and London. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

How to Succeed as a Non-Technical PM by Spotify Product Owner

Many companies require Product Managers to have a technical background – whether it be a formal Computer Science degree or experience with writing code. Is this really necessary to succeed as a Product Manager

Jori Bell from Spotify shared her own experiences about starting out as a young Product Manager without a technical background. She was self-conscious of her lack of tech knowledge until she realized that she could bring another kind of value to the team without knowing how to code.

Here are the main points from her recent event:



Product Manager at Spotify

Jori Bell is a Product Owner at Spotify. Before Spotify, Jori was a Product Manager all over New York City. She has worked at SoundCloud, Rolling Stone and AOL, Inc. Jori hails from Chicago and has a soft spot for deep dish pizza. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism.


Do Product Managers Need to Be Techy?

Many Product Managers are self-conscious about their lack of technical background, but technical skills aren’t everything when it comes to Product Management. Jori Bell broke down the myth of needing technical skills to be a successful Product Manager.

She talked about how you need to understand the types of skills that will make you a successful Product Manager. She gave value to the fact that you need to figure out how you can bring non-technical value to a team, and build trust with a technical team. Jori also mentioned some challenges that non-tech Product Managers might face

How to Succeed as a Non-Technical PM by Spotify Product Owner


Bullet Points:

  • There are as many definitions of product management as there are product managers. The main reason for this is because product is emerging and transient, and it lacks a craft. It’s also different depending on where you go.
  • Product Management is at the intersection of business, technology, and user experience. However, to become a product manager you don’t need to be an expert in all of them.
  • Product is growing all the time. Nowadays, there are places, such as Product School where you can go and learn about product management. There are more and more Product Managers that come from untraditional backgrounds.
  • “Own what you don’t know.” For example, in job interviews, you shouldn’t be afraid of saying straight what you don’t know. Afterwards, you can tell what other skills you can bring to the team.
  • More important than knowing how to code are excellent communication skills, and understanding UX and business strategies.
  • You can build up your tech knowledge in internships before breaking into product, and by reading blogs related to product Management. 
  • Product Managers need to know “enough” tech to work with engineers which means that they need to know:
    • The concepts of coding, not coding itself.
    • How to ask the right questions.
    • How to inform decision making.
    • How to map out different concepts.
  • The engineers, on the other hand, need that the Product Manager
    • Is the voice of the consumer.
    • Is the business owner (business goals.)
    • Has context (sees the bigger picture.)
  • Engineers don’t need Product Managers to tell them how to do something but instead why they need to do it.
  • Technical Product Managers can be limiting for engineers. 


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach Product Management in 14 cities worldwide, including Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles and London. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Trust the Engineering Team by Reddit Product Manager

What is the ideal Product Manager? Obsessed with the customer, a convincing communicator and capable of making decisions based on data. These are all crucial qualities, but on top of them, a Product Manager has to trust their engineering team 100%.

Product Manager at Reddit shared key qualities and major responsibilities you’ll need in a product position.

Trust the Engineering Team by Reddit Product Manager

Nick Caldwell

Before joining Reddit as a Product Manager, Nick Caldwell held various positions in engineering leadership at Microsoft across a 15-year career, culminating in a role as General Manager for the Power BI product suite. Nick holds a degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from UC Berkeley. He’s a native of P.G. County Maryland but is happy to call San Francisco home.


Does Reddit have any unpaid Product Manager internships to gain experience in product management?

Reddit is still in its growing phase and only recently announced an internship program. The first batch of interns will arrive in May/June of 2018 and are all software developers. We will likely move into Product Managers and other disciplines in the next round of interns. 


When hiring, do you look more for generalists or specialists?

Generalists. The ability to drop into an area, understand and synthesize insights from customers, develop a strategy, and create a roadmap are general purpose skills no matter what the underlying product is. With 15 years of experience, you are probably looking at overseeing multiple projects as well. To scale up that way you’ve got to be general and learn to hire people that can specialize in particular areas.


How does Reddit prioritize competing features being requested by different business partners?

Reddit is fortunate to have a very vocal community when it comes to providing feedback about the service. We tap into that energy primarily by using subreddits dedicated to interacting with our users. In the largest subreddit, we can get feedback from more than 250k people!

We also do surveys and do studies in our UX lab to help understand the most urgent needs. The biggest challenge in all this is that Reddit has been around for a long time, so we have to be extra careful to balance the needs of our dedicated hardcore users with the needs of newbies to the platform.


What are key qualities of a great Product Manager for team’s success?

The best Product Managers I’ve worked with/managed have been ones who

  1. We’re absolutely obsessed with the needs of our users AND the competitive landscape.
  2. Were able to craft a clear and fast roadmap that went straight a delivering value to users without distraction.
  3. Knew how to trust the engineering team and get out of the kitchen.

Trust the Engineering Team by Reddit Product Manager


Is MBA necessary or is it a great advantage if one wants to transition from engineering to Product Management?

Although I have an MBA and it triggered my transition from pure engineering to general management, it isn’t necessary. I view MBA’s as more of a forcing function to accelerate change. And MBA will get you out of your comfort zone fast and demand you learn new skills. But I have seen plenty of folks transition to Product Management simply by investing their time in the most important thing: understanding customers.


What are the biggest stumbling blocks for someone transitioning from software engineering to product?

The biggest stumbling block by far is over-emphasis on software architecture. Which is understandable. As engineers, we start our careers thinking about building fast and performant systems. But most users don’t care about how things are built; they only care about whether their problems are getting solved.

The toughest thing for me to learn was how to empathize with users and understand that they probably don’t care so much about how great our architecture is.


Do you use sprints or Kanban on Reddit? Do you optimize your current products or look to build new verticals?

At the line-level, there isn’t a standard/proscribed development methodology although most teams are using kanban boards with two-week sprint check-ins. In my experience, the right methodology to use is highly dependent on the makeup of the team, the product you are trying to build, expected quality levels, deployment infrastructure, and other factors.

My general advice is to grow the right methodology to suit your team’s needs and not get bogged down in dogma.


How important is a computer science/technical degree?

Having a CS degree will help you to improve your understanding of what’s possible out of the engineering team. Your estimates will get better, and your relationship with the team will be better. Most of the Product Managers I’ve worked with have had CS degrees and done some coding and various points in their lives. That said, it isn’t a requirement.

I have also seen Product Managers who build great relationships with their engineering team simply by being able to communicate the value of their work, the value of the mission, etc. Ultimately, representing the customer is everything.

Trust the Engineering Team by Reddit Product Manager


Have you seen people with sales/BD experience successfully transition into product management roles?

I have seen several BD people transition to product and it’s a great entry point because it forces you to understand relationships, give/gets, and timelines. The challenge I see most people from BD face is that customers are not the same as partners, and the reality of a marketplace is often very different from models that BD produces.

The BD folks I’ve seen come into Product Management usually find success when they can initially take on more strategic roles and get support with the tactics producing specs/working with EM’s etc. But eventually, they come around.


You indicate that product needs to stay out of the engineering kitchen. Have you encountered the opposite issue?

Yeah, all the time. I generally approach this by making sure everyone understands roles and responsibilities clearly. Engineers often aren’t exposed to all the stakeholders that Product Managers need to touch on a daily basis so they won’t grasp the nuances of communication. But you can prep your engineer by telling them why you are bringing them into the conversation and when to defer to you in advance.


Is the Product Manager responsible for just the customer experience or also the financial performance of the product?

This depends on what level you are at in the organization your overall company structure. Product Managers are always responsible for customer experience, but some Product Managers aren’t asked to take on revenue responsibility at all. They can get measured on some other metric.

But generally speaking, if there’s any revenue associated with your product, then you should try to understand it. Willingness to pay is a great proxy for “is my product good.”


How do teams at Reddit encourage their communities, and what do you think will happen to the online mass conversation in the future?

Super complex question. Reddit works because of great communities, and we often talk about ourselves as a platform for community. From a product perspective, most of our teams have OKR’s associated with some form of community growth. Creating new communities,  growing existing ones, getting people to spend more time in them, etc. would summarize 70% of what our product team is doing.

WRT to the mass conversation, I think the future is in authenticity and real conversation. I think people are looking for a place where they can have a real conversation without feeling like they are being shouted soundbites at. We’re trying to make Reddit that place of course.

Trust the Engineering Team by Reddit Product Manager


Any final advice you can share with aspiring product managers?

The best advice I can give a Product Manager is to obsess over the problems that your users/customers face. Every decision you make ultimately should be answerable to delivering value to some set of users.

The other thing I’d say is that your customer insights should come from both quantitative and qualitative sources. You need both to get a deep insight into users: what they say they want vs. what the data says they want. Finally, get on Reddit


Have any comments? Tweet us @ProductSchool 

The Product Book has arrived! Learn how to become a great Product Manager. On sale for a limited time. Get your copy here 

We teach Product Management in 14 cities worldwide, including Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles and London. To learn more about our upcoming courses and how to apply click over to our course page.

Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

They say that a product manager has to be good at communicating, storytelling, prioritizing, executing and obsessing over the user. On top of all this, a technical background is a plus but not a “must.” According to Omaze Product Manager, the thing that is more important is to be a builder.

Keep on reading to find out what she means by it, and read her answers to other Product Management related questions.


Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

Ariel Butters

Ariel is a Product Manager at Omaze, a fundraising platform that uses storytelling and technology to disrupt charitable giving. Prior to joining Omaze, she was the product owner of ZEFR’s BrandID suite, a dynamic media planning tool. Ariel is a graduate of Media Studies program, which gives her a user-focused lens on building entertainment technology. Ariel is also a published author, produced playwright, and proud mentor with Young Storytellers Foundation.


Can you share some of the primary skills that have helped you on your journey into product management?

Well, I consider myself a “middle brained” person in that I am equally creative and analytical, which I think is pretty standard across product people. Aside from having a passion for great products and the ability to unpack them into concrete features, I think one of the biggest skills that have led to my success is that I’m very comfortable digging into high-risk problems and having difficult conversations. There is a certain amount of bravery necessary to succeed in product.


What made you want to become a Product Manager? What were some of the paths you took early on?

I tell this story a lot, but this is how I got into product: early in my career, I was in an account optimization role and working on an internal tool. I felt like the tool was inefficient, and I desperately wanted someone from engineering to make changes to it. I didn’t know anything about product, but after asking around, someone suggested that I talk to the Product Manager.

He sat patiently with me while I walked him through my flowchart, and at the end, he said he couldn’t prioritize a fix for the tool, but that I should consider product management. After that, I moved briefly into a product marketing role and eventually found an opportunity to become a product manager at that same company.


What would be the basic skills to acquire coming from a non-technical degree?

You have to have an architectural mind. Although Product Managers spend a lot of their time communicating value, you also have to be able to unpack a problem into features and functions. Product Managers don’t have to be technical, but they have to be builders. Beyond that, you have to be able to communicate with engineers with enough proficiency to be credible. Small tech teams are a good environment to increase your technical literacy.


What steps would you propose one take to switch fields to product management?

I think just getting exposure to how product managers talk and evaluate problems. There are a lot of great networks and blogs out there. To be honest, since there’s no formal path to product, the best step I think you can take is just to make the switch. Starting applying for APM positions, or meeting up with Product Managers in the area. For me, I saw an opportunity and made sure I was prepared to shoot my shot.

Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

How does analytics factor into your product strategy at Omaze?

Aside from basic traffic and marketing analytics, Omaze does a ton of A/B testing. We A/B test campaign assets (titles, marketing language, images) to see what has the most traction, and we do bigger testing initiatives to see where we can maximize growth. For our strategy, we focused on six key product areas that we wanted to explore in 2018, articulated our hypotheses we wanted to test, and are now working on iterative designs to test those hypotheses.


I have accepted a Product Manager position. Any tips on skills I should brush up on for the role?

This isn’t specific to Product, but one of my tips for starting any new position is to make sure you’re mentally ready for a new team and new challenges. A lot of people carry assumptions or fears with them from their past role or past situation.

As far as once you start, I believe it’s critically important for Product Managers to understand how their organization functions (every company has its own vibe!), so make sure you take time to get to know co-workers on teams with whom you may not directly interact.


How does storytelling fit into your role as a Product Manager?

I do consider myself first and foremost to be a storyteller, and my educational background is in media production. Storytellers have to be clear, persuasive, and visual, and they have to be able to compel audiences to come on a journey into an entirely new world they’ve created. Product managers have to do the same thing!

Product managers also have to be strong influencers who present data and explain things a lot, so being able to craft a strong narrative will take you so, so far in product. As far as tips go, check out some books on screenwriting structure. (“Save the Cat” is my favorite.) Feature screenplays have a very strict structure, and you’ll be able to extrapolate all the key elements of a great narrative from that.


I am having trouble transitioning into Product from a web dev/project coordinator background. Any advice?

Not sure if this is helpful, but rather than focusing on building products, maybe try ‘un-building’ products. As you go through your day, start looking at every tool you use (software or physical) as a product, and challenge yourself to unpack it. How exactly does it solve your problem? How do you feel about it as a user? Can you pick out features that seem innovative, or features that seem useless?

Being able to talk about products might be helpful. And stay tuned into product communities like this one.

Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

How do you get entry-level experience or a job without having any prior product experience?

Honestly, my best advice is to stay ready. I got lucky because an opportunity opened up at the company where I worked, and by all of my prior product marketing experience, I was already the best person for the job. There are lots of great communities, and some product teams offer internships — although, since product teams tend to be small, flat organizations, product internships are less common than internships in other areas.

If you’re more market-y, see if you can swing a product marketing gig. If you’re more analytical, try a business analyst or data science role. Moving to product can be easier as a lateral move.


From a technical role, i.e. Software engineer or data scientist, what skills are required in product?

In my experience, it seems easy for engineers-turned-Product Managers to get bogged down in the minutiae, and to fall more into a project management role, where execution is everything, and there’s no clear long-term vision. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten is “don’t let your strengths become your blind spots”. If you’ve already got the technical chops, see what you can do to boost your customer and business-driven mindset.


Is a computer science/IT background necessary?

Nope! I find it helpful for me to be out of my technical depth sometimes. It keeps me honest and solid in my role. Product Managers tend to be very driven, by-all-means-necessary people, and if I had any confidence in my code, I’d probably be tempted to solve the problem myself from time to time, and that’s not a good habit to get into.

I will say, it can help to be familiar with software architecture from a high level, and it’s good to know SQL so that you can run analytics queries yourself if you have to.


I’m a Business Analyst trying to transition into a Product Manager role. Any tips?

Business analyst to Product Manager seems very sensical to me. If you have a good product resource at your current organization, use it. Ask if you can work on more product-focused initiatives, and see where you can go above and beyond with product recommendations based on your analyses.


What are some of the most challenging parts of being a Product Manager?

For me, it was decision exhaustion. Whether it’s your first time in product management or just your first day at a new company, you have to start making critical decisions on day one. A lot of them. I struggled with days where I just wanted someone else to tell me what the right answer was, especially because I was also leaping from basically no product experience into the owner of a high-profile product suite.

So to that point, it’s important for first-time Product Managers to have a solid boss: someone in product, whom you see every day, who can help you work through problems when you’re stuck.

Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

How can I transition from a client services/success, or account management role into Product?

Well, that was my path to product, so it’s doable. My best advice here is to leverage your current organization (or potentially, your clients’ organization, if you have that kind of relationship with them.) Pattern recognition is key in product management, so see if you can find common problem patterns across your clients or services, work out a solution, and then pitch it to the powers that be.


If your developers are slow or your content writers aren’t producing the needed pieces how do you motivate them?

Oh man… this is a problem close to my heart! The very first thing I’d say is that you should put on your magic PM supervision goggles and try to figure out where the problem is. Do the developers have a tedious process of committing code, or the wrong project management tool? Do they not understand the customer, or are requirements changing too much? Is your content team understaffed? Are either team lacking in strong, consistent leadership? Are they unclear on what your relationship is to them?

I’m an optimist, so I feel like it’s rare that groups of people just straight up don’t care. Take an empathetic view and see if you can find where there’s a gap.


How can a Product Manager with skills in user empathy but that lacks vision in the financial scope of the product, improve their work?

Do you lack vision in financial scope because it’s not made transparent to you, or because you feel like you’re at a loss for what the financial scope is? If it’s the former, have a frank conversation about why it’s important that you know the long-term financial scope of your product. If it’s the latter, brush up on market analyses skills. I was pretty intimidated by the finance of product, but in the end, forecasting is still “guess work.” It’s just “guess work” with specific algorithms.


What was the preparation that you decided to make to become a product manager?

In my case, it was to deeply understand the customers and product at the organization where I worked and wanted to become a Product Manager in. But I also did a lot of independent study about product management. Inspired by Marty Cagan is one of my favorite resources.


What are your top 3 Product Management web bookmarks?

I wish I had a more impressive answer to this, but I don’t check product blogs. About once a week I check the homepage of Crunchbase. Other than that, my top three web bookmarks are my work email, my work calendar, and JIRA.

Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

Do I need any course/certification to get to Product? How do I justify I am the right candidate for a job without any experience?

Transitioning to product requires some self-road mapping. In what industries have you worked and what skills can you actively demonstrate? What kind of company or product can serve as a bridge for you? I don’t have any certifications, so I’m not sure about that. But if your background is in development, my first suggestion would be to look at developer tools and see if they have product management opportunities.


How demanding have your Product roles been, i.e., whats your work-life balance like compared to your marketing role?

Marketing is a fire-drill department, and while there are still the occasional ‘fires’ for Product Managers, it’s much more structured. My time is in higher demand, but I also have more autonomy and long-term clarity to structure it. I tend to shy away from the phrase ‘work-life balance.’ Even though I have lots of challenging personal endeavors, in the end, it’s all my life, and all of my time is equally important. I’m comfortable turning off my work notifications


Is there anything that you feel is important that too few Product Managers are doing?

Great Product Managers balance right in the sweet spot between vision and execution. Some Product Managers spend too much time managing execution (solution: push to hire a project or program manager, and spend a workday out of the office to open up creativity), and some Product Managers talk a lot of big ideas but consistently miss critical launch dates (solution: pare down the roadmap, heavily).


As a college student, what is the best way to have Product Manager role as an intern?

I honestly don’t know. I never interned as a Product Manager, and while Omaze does offer some internships, we haven’t offered a Product Manager Internship. If you’re having trouble finding a Product Manager role, see if you can find a role that is ‘close’ to product, which can differ by organization.

Or you could just start emailing companies. When I was much younger, I got a few internships by just cold-calling and being like, “have you thought about hosting an internship?”

Product Managers Are Builders by Omaze Product Manager

Do you have any responsibilities for a Business Analyst role?

I don’t think I do! Omaze has a business analyst. I work with him to gather data on our optimizations, but he does all the analysis.


Sometimes a product manager role can have a pretty wide reach, are there any things to be mindful of not to overstep in your role?

Yes, product management is inherently political. Overstepping – and the friction it can cause – depends heavily on the organizational dynamics. In a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, doing something that is technically someone else’s responsibility will be appreciated, especially if you’re upfront about it and don’t present it as a challenge to their competence.

However, in a culture of psychological insecurity or internal competition, overstepping can make your life miserable, and can have a serious detriment to your credibility. And you’re right; Product Managers do naturally touch everything. At some point, you just have to radically accept boundaries where boundaries exist and try to be as diplomatic as possible about it.

Oh, and be mindful of any implications by your superiors or colleagues that you’re on the hook for someone else’s responsibility. Remind them, “I’m going to let people do their jobs.” 


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How To Get a Product Management Job at Facebook

In 2018, Facebook stole the number one spot of Glassdoor’s list of “best places to work.” Its outstanding workplace reputation, vision and values, and of course employee benefits, make Facebook one of the most coveted places to work. It’s no wonder that it is also one of the most competitive places to land a job. Facebook has its eye out for a certain type of person that can fit in with the company culture, share its core values and will be dedicated to bringing the world closer together.” 

So how can you snatch yourself one of these positions in over 60 locations worldwide and become Facebook’s next employee?

How to get a Product Management Job at Facebook

Here’s how to get a job at Facebook and stand out from the other candidates in this highly competitive tech industry.


Skills needed at Facebook

Previous experience: You need to be able to demonstrate that you have proven product management experience. Depending on which role you are going for (Product Manager of Advanced Networking planning, Product Manager of Network Insights, to name a few), you may need anywhere from 3 to 5 years of experience in a similar role. For some Product Management roles, they ask for more than 10 years of experience. Being that Facebook is such a large company, there are numerous Product Management roles, each with their specific requirements. Have a look at Facebook’s product management job postings to get a better idea of the different product management roles offered.

Qualifications: Apart from experience, there is a minimum qualification to become Facebook’s next PM, and it varies greatly depending on the position. For some Product Management roles, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline like Computer Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. However, for other Product Management positions, it isn’t exactly necessary as long as you have the right amount of relevant experience.

Technical Background: Of course holding a bachelor’s degree in a technical discipline helps, but candidates are sometimes asked to have a specific technical background as well. Depending on the Product Management position, you could be asked to have experience in technical architecture of web applications and media products, designing user interfaces, or experience creating examples through wireframes and mockups.

Core Values: Fitting in with company culture and attitude is a big deal for Facebook, and they want to make sure that you have what it takes on a personal level. When selecting candidates, Facebook looks for people who are bold, focused on impact, fast, open and looking to build social value.  It’s important to demonstrate that you are ready to make bold decisions quickly for the right reason and motivations. Read more about the Facebook’s core values here.

Additionally, Facebook looks for talented people who are considered to be builders, have diverse backgrounds, and fit into the culture.  Business Insider goes into detail here.

The interview process

The number of interviews all depends on the person and the position in which they are applying for. According to an interview with Miranda Kalinowski, Facebook’s global head of recruiting, a candidate typically goes through four to five interviews before being hired, and the whole process can take about three months. All potential Facebook hires go through the same first three interviews. The following interviews depend on the position that you are applying for.  

A typical interview process will look something like this:

  • The first interview is a phone interview with a recruiter whose aim is to determine if the candidate has the appropriate professional experience and drive to work at Facebook.
  • The second interview is another phone interview, but this time it is more technical. The interview is held by a Facebook employee that currently has the position the candidate is applying for. So, at this stage of a Product Management interview, you will be interviewed by a Product Manager.
  • The third interview is when the candidate is invited onsite to partake in a series of interviews. While onsite, the interviewee takes a tour of the office and then has multiple interviews with different panels.


Interview questions at Facebook

Facebook has a very extensive interview process, so it’s no surprise that you will be presented with challenging questions. These usually include hypothetical questions and logic questions to gauge how the candidate thinks. The questions will test if you have what it takes to create innovative products (product sense), make critical decisions (execution), and if you have the leadership and drive to thrive at Facebook (leadership).

Some example questions:

Product sense:

  • As a PM on the Facebook Birthdays team, how would you make it better?
  • What do you dislike about a Facebook feature of your choice?
  • How would you improve the Facebook News Feed?
  • How would you design Facebook Events 2.0?


  • We’ve outsourced a critical mobile app to a third-party developer. How do we decide when to take that development in-house?
  • How would you decide between showing more ads on the Facebook News Feed vs. showing a People You May Know recommendation widget?


  • Tell me a time when you disagreed with an engineer. How did you convince him or her?
  • What’s your favorite project where you played a leadership role?


You can go through a number of channels to get your application to Facebook:

More resources to help you land your Facebook Product Management Job:


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